Ben Arfa return excites Pardew
Newcastle manager insists midfielder is worth the effort
Last Updated: September 20, 2011 9:59am
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has admitted Hatem Ben Arfa is 'not going to be smooth running' but has backed the midfielder to be a great success.
Ben Arfa joined the Magpies from Marseille on loan in the summer of 2010 and, despite suffering a sickening leg injury against Manchester City following a Nigel de Jong challenge, the move was made permanent.
He has had to be patient at the start of the new campaign after picking up an ankle problem in pre-season, but is poised to make his return to action in Tuesday's Carling Cup tie at Nottingham Forest.
Pardew accepts that Ben Arfa may not be the easiest player to work with but maintains that he is worth the effort because he is capable of having a major impact at St James' Park.
"He's a character," Pardew said in the Daily Mail. "He's not going to be smooth running.
"I won't say he's high maintenance but he's not low maintenance and we're going to have our moments with him.
"I'm sure he's going to fall out with me and my staff and my players and we will with him, but along that line we're hoping to get some great performances and a lot of goals from him."
Ben Arfa made a positive impression during the brief period when he was fit last season but Pardew accepts that it would be wrong to expect too much too soon from the Frenchman.
Pardew asks only that he works as hard as anyone else in the team, saying: "He's been out for so long that the beauty is that I don't have to rush him.
"Last year when we lost Andy Carroll I was really desperate for him at times if I'm honest. This year I feel the results and performances mean we don't have to rush him.
"This is a bit early for him but he needs a game. I know he's a player that can reach heights that other players can't reach.
"He's a Newcastle-type player, the type that fans love up here and I felt it was important we secured him.
"It's just a point of getting him right, there's no doubt about his craft which is exceptional.
"He needs to fit into the work-rate of the side because we're not so good that we can carry a player.
"The way he plays he's had people kicking him and lumping him up in the air since he was seven, so it's natural to him and he won't think twice about it.
"Someone will come through the back or the side of him and you hope he'll stand up and be fine when that happens."